LOVE IS PATIENT
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
In these verses, the fullness of love is described. Love is more than words, love is action just as we read in 1 John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth”.
Love is patient with people and gracious to them with understanding. This beautiful picture of love is a portrait of Jesus Christ. He lived out in perfection all of these virtues of love. It is this lifestyle of love that Christ can produce in His followers.
Love practices being patient. The word literally means to be “long-tempered”. The word is used almost exclusively of being patient with people, rather than with circumstances or events.
It does not become impatient when tried, when wronged by others, and when it has to face misunderstanding and when people disapprove. Love moves on just as sweetly and graciously as when people do approve.
The Supreme Example of Patience
The supreme example of patience, is God Himself. It is because of God’s patient love that prevents the world from being destroyed. It is because of God’s patient love that He allows time for men to be saved (2 Peter 3:9).
Since the original sin committed by Adam and Eve, God has been continually wronged and rejected by those He made in His own image.
Jesus Christ was rejected by His chosen people (John 1:11), through whom He gave the revelation of His Word (Romans 3:2). Yet, for thousands of years, God has been patient with all humanity and eternally long-suffering.
What Genuine Love Includes
Genuine love does not have a short fuse, no matter how unreasonable or unfair people may be. Rather, genuine love is slow to express irritation or anger (James 1:19-20).
It is not difficult to see that genuine love includes an open, unguarded approach to other people, and that can be a scary concept for a lot of Christians to deal with.
Vulnerability can set us up to be hurt and maligned, but in short, if we want the advantages of love, then we must be willing to take the risks of love.
Paul said that patience was a characteristic of his own heart (2 Corinthians 6:6) and should characterise every Christian (Ephesians 4:2). Stephen’s last words were one of patient forgiveness: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”(Acts 7:60).
Love’s patience is the ability to be inconvenienced or taken advantage of by a person over and over again without becoming upset and angry. It is wrong for us as Christians to avenge ourselves.
Christian Acts in Christlikeness
Patience never retaliates. Like agape love itself, the patience spoken of in the New Testament was a virtue only among Christians.
In the Greek world self-sacrificing love non-avenging patience were considered weaknesses.
In the world vengeance was a virtue. The world has always tended to make heroes of those who fight back, who get their revenge, who stand up for their welfare and rights above all else. But genuine love, love that suffers long and is patient is the very opposite.
God’s love is primarily concerned with the welfare of others, not itself, and it is much more willing to be taken advantage of than to take advantage, much less to avenge.
The Christian who acts in Christlikeness never takes revenge for being hurt or insulted. The Scriptures teach very clearly that Christians are to “repay no one evil for evil”(Romans 12:17), “but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also”(Matthew 5:39).
By John Denman
From “THE QUALITIES OF LOVE (1 Corinthians 13:1-7)”
Pictures taken by Paul Ding